QUESTION: Do you approve of Zionism—that is, the reestablishment of the ancient state of Israel—when it involves so much force of arms and bloodshed?
ANSWER: The answer to your question is rather complex. First we must state that Jews for Jesus as a ministry does not take political positions. We do, however, take scriptural positions; and from the Scriptures we can say that in God’s timing, he will reestablish the ancient state of Israel as prophesied, using whatever means he deems necessary. There are those who believe that God has established the modern state of Israel as part of this redemptive plan. If that is true, we rejoice; nevertheless, we cannot say with certainty that the return to the land at this time is what was foretold by the prophets.
So far as force of arms is concerned, the choice for Israel has been to fight or to be annihilated. It must be remembered that every defensive position entails some violence. All bloodshed is regrettable; but Israel has no choice when faced with an intransigent and implacable foe who has threatened in the past to drive her into the sea.” Many might wish that the Israeli government could feel secure enough to withdraw the settlements on the West Bank. But on the same basis, the United States should seriously consider giving Texas back to Mexico and, indeed, should never have settled it in the first place.
We must also remember that war has not always been “wrong.” In Moses’ time the sons of Jacob did not traipse into the land of Canaan and find a welcoming committee eager to greet them and congratulate them upon their arrival. God commanded that they take Canaan by force. At that point it would have been wrong for them not to do it. There may be some who think that God has learned some new lessons since ancient times, but to our knowledge, God does not change. It is entirely possible that once again he might move Israel to resort to force.
The problem comes about when Christians expect unbelieving Jews and Muslims to behave according to Christian standards of peace. As Christians, we are to turn the other cheek, to bless those who persecute and revile us, and to seek to forgive those who do us wrong. And as Christians, we ought to avoid, if possible, all fights, quarrels and armed conflict. That is the ideal. But we cannot hold non-Christians to ideal Christian behavior. After all, we have not had great success in asking that Christians behave like Christians!